I have been shooting a decent amount of boxing and MMA lately with. At the moment, I am stuck with the D200 and the high ISO noise that comes with it.
When shooting ringside (not often), I shoot with the 28-70mm AF-S f/2.8 and for Auxiliary, the Sigma 120-300mm HSM EX f/2.8 with and without the 1.4 teleconverter.
The D200 is mediocre at best with ISO 1600 and horrible at 1600+ (H1, H2).
I am looking to source a new body, maybe a D300 or D700 that handles noise much better. The goal is to get a faster shutter, through higher ISO with less noise at f/4.
I lose a stop when adding the 1.4 teleconverter to the Sigma (f/2.8 to f/4) but need the 420mm that comes along with it. Sadly, 400mm is sometimes short depending on location and requires a lot of cropping.
Now the question ... will a better body compensate through higher ISO to negate the use of the teleconverter or is a 400mm f/2.8 a requirement? Meaning, if I forego the purchase of 400mm f/2.8, will a better body give me the same results using the 300mm at f/4?
The new glass is at least three times the price of a new body (sans D3) …
D200 Body ~ 17-35mm 2.8 AF-S | 28-70mm 2.8 AF-S | 70-200mm 2.8 AF-S VR | 50mm 1.4D | 60mm 2.8D | 85mm 1.4D | 105mm 2D DC | 300mm f/4 AF-S | Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 APO EX | 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters
>I have seen totally clean 6400 pics from a D700. > >I would say the 700 is one *to* two stops better than a 300 >with optimal exposure pics. > >www.dpreview.com claims that it can be unsed indiscriminately >at 1600 without problems. > >It is amaising. > >However, since we take similar pics, remember that the D700 >has a 36mm sensor vs 24 for 300, so you loose that 1.5x zoom >with it. > >This is why I have a 300 now, changing all my lenses >would have been very costly. > >My advise would be to get a D300 and get a Kenko Pro 300DG >teleconverter. A 1.4 and a 2.0 depenging on what you need. > >MG
I'm fairly new to the DX format but I think there is a misconception that the DX format actually magnifies the view. The 1.5x that has been banded around is about the area of the sensor in comparison with a 35mm camera. In a nutshell the viewing area of a DX using a 300mm lens is the same as using a 35mm camera with a 450mm lens not that the DX format would appear closer.
The D300 picks up about 1.5 stops compared to the D200. I've been able to capture published images at ISO 1600 and even ISO 2000 with the D300.
I'd upgrade the camera body first. You will definitely have improved performance for a relatively low cost. I'm assuming you can get a D300 for $1400-1500 and will sell the D200 for around $700. That's $700-800 for 1.5 stops. A lens upgrade may be in your future - but I would not buy the premium price lens until you have gotten the most from your current lenses.
>> “I can't afford the 400mm f/2.8, they are extremely expensive.” <<
That statement should answer the question for you. If you can not drop $9000 on a single lens the upgrading the body (giving you about a 2 stop ISO advantage over you old one) is your only logical choice. The 120-300/2.8 that you own is an awesome lens even with the 1.4TC at 420mm and f/4.
Why debate the merits of a lens you can not afford.
The other possible drawback of the 400/2.8 is size and weight. This lens makes your 120-300/2.8 seem small by comparison.
Get the D300 and use the 1.4TC, shoot RAW and intentionally underexpose and digitally push the exposure. I'd do some test shooting with this first if possible, but I've had to do this very thing. Using Capture NX or Adobe Camera RAW to process the "push" and you might be pleasantly surprised just how good a shot you can get.
I did this juts his last weekend. I had a shot I needed to get indoors, didn't want to have motion blur, but the exposure was pretty much maxed. I switched from aperture priority to manual,and intentionally undercut the shutter by 2 stops.
Pushed it back in Camera Raw and some other post processing and got the shot.
You might even be able to get away with this using your current D200.
Just another option and one I do not see recommended often.